AIA's Top 10 Green Projects Showcase Environmentally Responsible Design

April 26, 2004
April 22, 2004– In recognition of Earth Day 2004, The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected 10 examples of architectural and “green” design solutions that protect and enhance the environment. The top ten projects will be honored on May 27 during a presentation at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., by COTE Chair Mark Rylander, AIA, and again in June at the AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Chicago.The 2004 Top Ten Green Projects address significant environmental challengeswith designs that integrate architecture, technology, and natural systems.They make a positive contribution to their community, improve comfort for building occupants, and reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as: reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality. Several of the projects reclaim former brownfield sites.The AIA’s Committee on the Environment represents more than 5,500 AIA members committed to making sustainable design integral to the practice of architecture. The seventh annual AIA/COTE Top 10 Green Projects initiative was developed by the AIA in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, Environmental Building News magazine and The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR® Program. The Jury selected projects that cover a broad spectrum of project types. Facilities include both new construction and renovation of office, retail, residential, academic, and institutional facilities. The panel of jurors included:  Jury Chair, Sandy Mendler, AIA, vice president and sustainable design principal of the San Francisco office of Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum (HOK); Susan Ubbelohde, Department of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley; Tony McLaughlin, partner, Buro Happold, London; Don Watson, FAIA, architect and author; and William Moorish, professor of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban and environmental planning at the University of Virginia.Jury members said that they wanted to pick a range of project and building types. The application forms gave them 10 metrics on each project for a quick reading on performance. “Then the text had to show that the submitter knew what he or she was talking about,” said Jury Chair Sandy Mendler, AIA.  “This was not a beauty parade, although a lot of the submissions are really good contenders for AIA Honor Awards.” The 2004 AIA Top 10 Green Projects (listed in alphabetical order):(EDITOR’S NOTE: Images, case studies, details, and technical information are available for The Top 10 Green projects by following the link provided with each description below)20 River Terrace, The Solaire, New York CityCesar Pelli & Associates Architects, New York City River Terrace is a 27-story, glass-and-brick residential tower in Battery Park City, directly adjacent to the site of the former World Trade Center, meeting both the recently enacted New York State Green Building Tax Credit and Gold LEED Certification. The architect designed the 357,000-square-foot, 293-unit building to consume 35 percent less energy, reduce peak demand for electricity by 65 percent, require 50 percent less potable water, and provide a healthy indoor environment. An integrated array of photovoltaic panels generates five percent of the building’s energy at peak loading. The building incorporates an advanced HVAC system, fueled by natural gas and free of ozone-depleting refrigerants. Daylighting has been maximized, and high-performance casement windows were used throughout. All residential units include programmable digital thermostats, ENERGY STAR® fixtures, and a master shut-off switch. Jury Comments: The architect set a high agenda in terms of bringing sustainability and social responsibility to a mainstream project in a competitive market.” Environmental ServicesBuilding, Pierce County, WA
The Miller/Hull Partnership, Seattle, WA building sits on a 900+ acre site, much of which has been extensively mined for gravel for over 100 years, resulting in a barren landscape. As the first major building constructed under “Reclaiming Our Resources,” the county’s 50-year master plan for the site, it sets the tone for future development. Its driving concepts call for a more humane work environment, introduction of natural light, interior vegetation, and views to the exterior. The project attempts to make people aware of being part of a greater regional context by developing the “Mt.Rainier” axis through the site. Space planning follows a European office model: No desk is more than 30 feet to a window. Extensive daylighting studies led to the use of baffles in the skylights, a large western overhang, and exterior sunscreens on the east façade. A raised-floor air distribution system reduces the size and energy consumption of the mechanical system, improves indoor air quality, provides for future flexibility, and gives individuals direct control of their immediate environment. Night-time flushing lowers the temperature of the concrete structure by several degrees, resulting in “free” cooling at the beginning of the day.Jury Comments: “A brownfield site becomes a benchmark for future buildings as the design team applies nontraditional daylighting strategies to create interior spaces that are very humane and sophisticated.” Factor 10 House, ChicagoEHDD Architects, Chicago 2000, the City of Chicago’s Departments of Environment and Housing sponsored a national competition to identify creative modifications to the existing New Homes for Chicago program. Factor 10 House’s cutting edge design was one of five affordable case-study designs chosen to be built. F10’s modular design responds to a narrow city site with adjacent buildings, with an open 1,834-square-foot floorplan that incorporates a solar chimney in the stairwell. The open plan enhances cross ventilation. Window placement maximizes reflected light; the solar chimney includes a south-facing clerestory window that brings natural light to the house’s core. A high-efficiency gas fired boiler and perimeter fintube baseboard provides heating, while natural ventilation delivers the cooling. A wall of water bottles acts as a heat sink in winter.Jury Comments: “In a grassroots movement toward sustainability, the Chicago Housing Authority has built its first affordable housing cooled passively without central air conditioning, helping to lead the building community, including the major retail stores, to these concepts.” GenzymeCenter, Cambridge, MA
Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner Inc., Venice, CA building, headquarters for a biotechnology company, sits on former brownfield site in Cambridge at Kendall Square, a dense, massive “1970s Urban Renewal” development project built on wetlands fill. All of the environmental design strategies - energy efficiency, water conservation, material selection, urban site selection, and indoor environmental quality - not only contribute to the Platinum LEED rating the building is expected to achieve from the US Green Building Council – but establish an open spatial atmosphere for the building occupants. The high-performance curtainwall system boasts operable windows on all 12 floors. These windows, linked to the building management system, allow for automated control and “night cooling.” Also, a third of the exterior envelope is a ventilated double-façade with a four-foot buffer that tempers solar gains year-round. The building’s central atrium space acts as a huge return air duct and light shaft, and steam from a nearby power plant supplies central heating and cooling. The building will also use 32-percent less water than a comparable office building by having waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, automatic faucets, and low-flow fixtures.

Jury Comments: “The corporation invested heavily to make this great piece of architecture a model for corporate offices in the coming decade, with its sophisticated glazing, lighting, and mechanical systems that create a growing, active place supportive of its occupants.” Greyston Bakery, Yonkers, NYCybul & Cybul Architects, Edgewater, NJ Greyston Bakery offers a 23,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art production bakery on a 1.6-acre former brownfield site in an old industrial area near downtown Yonkers. Intended as a revitalization catalyst to this blighted neighborhood, new bakery functions as continuous automated machine to produce brownies and other baked products. The building is bisected by a three-level light shaft with translucent floors, then bisected again in the opposite direction by a two-story atrium, which separates the office area from the production bakery, and introduces light and air into the offices. The light shaft and atrium also allow natural airflow throughout the bakery. Outside ambient air cools the baked products as they travel down a continuous spiral conveyor. Jury Comments: “This is a cultural ecology where the design team understood that a workplace is not just a box you work in, but a quality environment to maintain workers; one in which the fundamental processes reveal the greatest potential for energy savings.” Herman Miller, Zeeland, MIKrueck & Sexton Architects, Chicago the most fundamental level, reuse of a building is one of the most sustainable strategies available. This project restores, revitalizes, and transforms a classic, but aging, Modern building into an environmentally responsive, high-quality workplace, exemplifying Herman Miller’s core values of human-centered, -spirited and -purposeful design. Located on the company’s main campus, this two-story 1974 office building housed Herman Miller’s executives until 1997. The architect stripped the interior to structure and replaced it with minimal finishes using 50-percent recycled content. They also reorganized it organized to provide maximum daylight penetration and 100 percent line-of-sight to the landscape. With 69 of its total energy produced on site, the redesign achieve a 29 percent reduction in energy consumption over ASHRAE 90.1-1999, mainly through envelope improvements and high-efficiency mechanical equipment and lighting. The project also supported the regional economy, with 57 percent of construction materials sourced within 500 miles. Jury Comments:“As if Saarinen had returned with more tools and an additional 30 years’ experience in sustainable use, good light, and air, this sweet little exposed-structure box shows that the Top 10 is also about extending the life of existing buildings in clever ways.” LakeView Terrace Branch Library, Los AngelesFields Devereaux Architects & Engineers/GreenWorks, Los Angeles View Terrace Branch of the City of Los Angeles Public Library system, enjoys a spacious main reading room that stretches along the east-west axis providing dramatic views of the park to the south. The site's stormwater runoff was reduced by 25 percent with landscaping features that include a series of radial bioswales for efficient rainwater infiltration. More than 75 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills to local recycling facilities. The Library's energy performance is more than 40 percent more efficient than California standards. Night venting takes advantage of it exterior insulated, high-mass CMU shell. Approximately 80 percent of the public spaces are naturally ventilated via mechanically interlocked windows controlled by sophisticated energy management system. A building-integrated photovoltaic system shades the entry and roofs the community room while providing 15 percent of the building's energy. The design provides nearly 100-percent shading of glazing for glare-free daylight during operating hours. The program called for a LEED® Platinum building; it is the first project of the city to attempt this level. Jury Comments:"Ample daylight without glare, the distinguished evaporative cooling tower that greets you at the entryway, natural ventilation, inventive use of color, careful material selection, and outstanding views make this library wonderful."The Plaza at PPLCenter, Allentown, PARobert A.M. Stern Architects, New York City(In association with Kendall/HeatonAssociates andwith support from environmental building consultant Atelier Ten) LEED™ Gold high-performance urban office building was designed and built in 18 months on a suburban real estate budget ($104-per-square-foot hard cost for the shell and core). The eight-story building offers Allentown’s downtown its first new office development in over 25 years. A dramatic eight-story glass atrium brings natural light deep into the core of the building, while extensive perimeter glazing provides panoramic views and abundant daylight filtered through brises-soleil directly to all building spaces. CO2 sensors ensure that fresh air is supplied directly to each building area as needed. A pair of two-story, plant-filled winter gardens along the south façade of the building provide unique workspaces for the occupants, bring daylight deeper into the floor plates, control glare, and improve indoor air quality. The building’s layout and efficient building systems - plus through the use of zero-emitting or very low VOC-emitting paint, adhesives, sealants, carpet, and composite wood - reduce energy demand by more than 30 percent over code requirements. Water use is 45 percent below code requirements, and construction materials contained more than 20-percent recycled content. Jury Comments:“With a clean aesthetic in a conventional building block, this project makes a number of nice moves - with double envelopes, daylight, and a winter garden - to frame a public space and contribute it to the city.”

WhiteRockOperationsBuilding, White Rock, British ColumbiaBusby + Associates Architects, Vancouver, British Columbia mandate of the City of White Rock was to make their new OperationsBuilding as environmentally sustainable as reasonably possible, in accordance with the City’s own policy. The 6,545-square-foot building earned a LEED Gold certification through a great variety of strategies that include photovoltaic panels for electricity and solar tubes to provide base radiant heating for the building. Daylight lightshelves reduce lighting needs. A green sod roof reduces runoff from impermeable surfaces, while a pervious parking lot to allow infiltration of water into the ground. The facility also uses storm water rather than potable water to wash down city vehicles and for toilets, and waterless urinals and low-flow faucets throughout the facility further reduce water consumption. Extensive use of materials produced within a 500-mile radius of the site also reduced transportation effects on the environment.Jury Comments:“A truly sustainable building that humans will use, cherish, and maintain over time, this collaborative achievement succeeds at all levels: massing, use of daylight, orientation, the way the water works on the site, and the use of materials.” WoodsHoleResearchCenter Gilman Ordway Campus, Woods Hole, MAWilliam McDonough + Partners, Charlottesville, VA within a challenging and constrained site, the design preserves the cultural landscape represented by an existing 19th-century summer home, respectfully and adaptively reusing the original house and adding contemporary office, laboratory, and common spaces. The all-electric building relies on renewable energy sources, including a grid-connected and net-metered 26.4-kW photovoltaic array that powers the building’s closed-loop ground-source heat pump system. A planned on-site wind turbine will likely make the building a net-energy exporter. Icynene spray foam insulates all exterior walls and roof assemblies, creating a technically and ecologically effective air barrier and optimized R-values. Other components reinforce the performance benefits of this extremely secure envelope including offset-stud framing, double- and triple-glazed argon-insulated low-e windows, enthalpy wheels that recapture heat and moisture from exhaust air and precondition incoming fresh air, and high-efficiency lighting controls and occupancy monitors.Jury Comments:“By testing and understanding how to achieve the highest level of performance in environmentally sensitive elements, such as water recovery and sole-source wind-turbine energy, this building raises the bar very high for the next generation of buildings.”

About The American Institute of Architects
Since 1857, the AIA has represented the professional interests of America's architects. As AIA members, more than 72,000 licensed architects, allied partners and emerging professionals express their commitment to excellence in design and livability in our nation's buildings and cities. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct that assures the client, the public, and colleagues of an AIA-member architect's dedication to the highest standards in professional practice.

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